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Upon the Rock, a Short Story
Delicate rays of sunlight filtered through the fog. I understood why some had opted to come straight here, instead of the safety further south. Why stay on a tiny windswept island when you could have the shelter of a whole continent, Antarctica’s mountains and ice above you?
The view is why I stepped off the boat here. Because of the sight of the South Georgia Island Church, lovingly restored. It stood upon the rock, a symbol of faith against the storms of the world, where everything else was falling into darkness. Everything else about this place reminded me of the frozen hell it was. If it wasn’t for the nightmare that had driven me this far south, I would have hated it even more.
Whalers had built it to worship on the days they weren’t killing. It was ironic that refugees from an equivalent bloody slaughter found refuge there. This chain of islands had been home to only penguins a decade before. A planeload of eco-tourists landed here after the new interim government in Antarctica refused to let them land. The pagans decided it was safer here for them than returning back to South America. Some found it poetic justice that the vegans had taken to living off penguin meat.
The eco-nuts were willing to tolerate us Christian “extremist” refugees, since we all had a common enemy. We all were extremists of one sort or another; anyone moderate converted to Islam rather than beheaded. Moderates didn’t flee home if they thought they could keep a fraction of their former life. People started to leave when a Muslim appointee was declared President after the attacks on Washington – and then declared Sharia law under threat of his family’s murder by a truer stripe of terrorist.
Then they blew up New York, Las Vegas and what was left of Washington. Then they started marching through the rural areas burning country churches and ashrams full of Wiccans. Some cleric decided that electricity was “controlling lightening”; hence, it was reserved for his followers. The rest lived in the dark. All the influences of Shaitain faded away when the power went out. No more computers to distract people from Allah. No more Internet to spread unbelief. No more phones to spread rumors or gossip or news, except for the cell phones in the hands of soldiers. All the things declared unacceptable via fatwa suddenly became impossible.
The few in the wilderness waiting for kingdom come continued the resistance in guerrilla form. Unfortunately, many gang-bangers joined the Muhajadeen. These males hated their nation, hated everyone else, and saw little wrong with killing even before conversion. Telling them they’d get heaven if they died and all the concubines they wanted if they lived emptied the jails and the inner cities and added to the ranks. 100 million Americans died when nukes went off in major cities. Then attacks on refugee camps started. “Better 100 dead that scare a 100 into belief than 200 living without Allah.” Chile and Argentina tripled in population, despite losing over half their numbers from radiation sickness and biowarfare.
And the flow of refugees flooded further south. There were scientists who’d been there since the war. They came in droves Yachts driven to their limits. Cargo ships laden with people that had no other haven, and hijacked passenger liners. Green Peace boats and American subs left their haven in New Zealand to that frozen Promised Land to protect the growing population. It was far from the fighting. It had geography to keep it safe. Most importantly, it had never been Dar-es-Islam. If Muslims had ever owned it, Muslims demanded that they should own it now. It had been their cry while retaking Europe and India and Africa. Then where they prayed became Dar-es-Islam, and that spot belonged to them forever. I knew that travesty from personal experience.
I’d had a Muslim break into my house while I’d been at a lawyer’s trying to keep control of my murdered husband’s assets. The converted woman had gone in – since my possessions were too tainted for a Muslim man to consider climbing in. She’d prayed on my bedroom floor. She then proceeded to pray in every room. My whole house was now Dar-es-Islam. It was no longer mine.
The Sharia courts had said that with the death of my husband and all male relatives, my home was my dower to whomever I chose to marry. And I’d keep the house, via this “guardianship”. While I was out, someone else turned the house into Dar-es-Islam. I suddenly could not enter my own house without being Muslim. The police did nothing as they watched. That didn’t surprise me. Half were converts. The other half hoped that by not interfering, their own homes might stay their own.
The woman then came out and gave me that damned greeting, “Peace be upon you.” She introduced her husband, a Black Panther turned Muslim and cop. Then came their offer. I could marry him. She’d be my only co-wife. I could still live in a room - of my choosing - in the house. Then life could go on as much as possibly normal. As a widow, wouldn’t I want the protection of such a fine man?
Granted, the black guy wasn’t one of the cops in the bad stories. But I didn’t want my freedoms taken away from me as casually as the lives of those around me had been. A woman’s word only mattered if it was in the favor of Islam. Only a yes gave me any modicum of safety. In this case, making me wife to a Muslim and giving them my property. The only property really left, since the stock market no longer existed and the Shariah banks did not recognize corporate bank accounts. Silence was the only option.
Then a different cop said if I didn’t like the other guy, he’d extend an offer to me. He had two other wives, but he would reserve the house for me and my children. He even offered an elderly female relative who would help care for house and children we’d have together. Foisting off a disgruntled mother in law on a new wife in guise of an offer of free childcare? After the Jihad had taken my children? “Go to hell!”
Uh-oh. I’d just told a Muslim to go to Hell. Blasphemy. Death sentence. Realizing fate was sealed, I let the rest pour out. “I will not give up what is mine. My God willing, I will stay here! I will not bow down to this!” The silence afterward was astonishing. 300 people had poured out from surrounding homes. “And those of you who stood silent while the femi-nazis were raped and the atheist lawyers slaughtered set the stage for the forced marriage-rapes of your daughters and the suicide belts on your sons. Evil flourishes while good people stay silent. Guess what? It has now engulfed you.” I could hardly breath at the sight of all those women peaking out through burqas. The little girls were unbelieving that any woman stood outside without a scarf and wasn’t beaten. The boys were uncertain. There must have been a sermon on the virtues of blowing yourself up that day, because they were thinking about my reference to suicide bombings.
“Your parents were Christian and Buddhist and atheist and Hindu before this war. They converted to save their lives. But realize that you would have had a better life in this world if they hadn’t had to make that choice at the edge of a sword blade. And if that religion were really true, why did they have to make that choice at the threat of death? I’m sorry you’ve come into a world of such horror. And now that I see how bad it has become, I’m glad my children didn’t live to have to live in it.”
Children started covering their ears as the imams had instructed them. I was defaming the faith. The crowd dispersing, women dragged their children back inside. If a free spirit decided to shoot me where I stood, they didn’t want to risk the anxious teenager accidentally killing their own child when he missed.
The second jilted cop slapped me hard. He started unzipping his pants when the black cop’s wife tried to stop him. The second suitor slapped her, which got the black cop mad. He started kicking the other man for hitting his wife. The second cop started begging, “Look, brother, I’m sorry. You’re the only one with the right to hit her. I just wanted to punish the Christian!” I started running and got in the front door. The cop was still beating the other man. I grabbed the backpack I’d hidden in a closet. The wife said nothing though she saw me. She had wanted my house, but clearly on more civil terms. With me gone, it would be even better: no co-wife.
I ran through the warren of latrines and gardens dug into backyards. If I covered up, I’d be less conspicuous in a crowd. If I covered up, I might be mistaken for a fleeing wife and hence have more idiots wanting to chase me down in hopes of a ransom. So I ran as I was, letting my hair flow with the breeze. People must have seen me. But no voice gave hue and cry, no one pointed me out to authorities. Was it in silent agreement with my words or fear that one who dared speak out publicly might be more dangerous to them than the authorities?
The prayer call brought everyone to the streets. I was in the edge of the retail district by then. I was seized into a store as the intercoms blared out. I feared the worst; punishment rape and then forced marriage to make it honorable. “Quiet, sister.” Sister? A Muslim would not have used that word for me. Not after my very public words that day.
The underground got me out of the country. I joined the migration south. Until here at the bottom of the world. And here was the church, the oldest freestanding Church left in the world. Even those churches in free areas of Chile and Argentina were all burned down, since locals couldn’t root out the terrorist arsonists without fear of killing one. Killing one rendered him a martyr, hence would bring the murderous wrath of down upon them. And lead to another round of bombings those nations could ill afford. I stood up on that ridge for a long time. I wanted warmth. And I wanted freedom for my faith. I could not have both. Not anymore, here.
A flight landed on the fields below. Tourists. The potato crop was scant and fishing was just krill, so tourism was welcome for the currency it brought. Beggars couldn't be choosers.
I watched the bundled forms get off. I mused that you couldn’t tell if any of them was male or female, Muslim or not, with all bundled up from the cold. A pair wandered back off the runway as the rest was drawn into the nearby shelter. That caught my attention. They started walking. Away from the shelter. Towards the church. Something didn’t seem right. I started down the ridge.
One now followed the other. I thought it was the larger one’s pace, until I realized it was deliberate spacing. The lead was taller and bigger. Male. And the other was smaller … female? Then I realized what was happening. We’d advertised the church as a beacon of hope - in hope of tourism. Muslims saw that as a snub. We’d screened passengers as we could, but with so many converts of so many different nationalities, you couldn’t make assumptions anymore. I started running.
The man kicked down the door to the church as I approached. I pulled out my gun. The woman was starting to kneel in prayer. I started shouting. No one else was in range. The man stood guard over the woman, both her protection and her potential executioner. She looked reluctant and afraid. “Do it!” the man screamed. She put her hands on the ground but hadn’t started to pray. She didn’t want to be here doing this nor be with him. She must have been a Catholic convert. Rome was lost when Imams prayed in the Vatican and hence banished Christ from Christianity’s home. She knew the result if she did this. But the man had his gun out. The question was whom he would use it upon. I shot her before either one could have made the invocation. It ripped through her arm and shoulder, not him. The woman fell back off the church porch.
The man had a clear shot of me. He fired instead into the head of the prone woman. “You have made a martyr of my wife! The blood of Islam is upon this ground! And your blood shall be spilt for it!” He put the gun to my chest. I heard helicopters in the distance. We didn’t have helicopters anymore, only rickety boats and planes. They were coming for us.
This was planned. The demon keeping me at gunpoint demanded I replace the wife who died. That was my blood price. I agreed; then I shot him as he tried to take his pants off. The bullets started raining down within an hour of the first bomb blast. Visions of Antarctica’s no longer sheltering white ice sheet or Heaven’s white rays filled my mind as the church on the rock faded from view.